Will benefit changes affect me?

Pension Credit and Universal Credit

Do you think you or your partner might be eligible for Pension Credit? If so, now's the time to act.

From 15 May 2019:

  •  pensioners who live together as a couple will only be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit when both partners  (as opposed to one partner) reach state pension age

  •  a couple will have to apply for Universal Credit to support their income until both partners are over the age of 65 (at which point they can apply for Pension Credit).

But if you're not already getting Pension Credit on 14 May 2019, you could still be eligible for Pension Credit and might be able to backdate your claim. You can ask for your claim to be backdated to 14 May or before. You’ll need to apply by 13 August 2019 to do this.

If you already get Pension Credit and you’re in a couple:
You’ll continue to get Pension Credit after 15 May 2019. If your entitlement stops for any reason, like if your circumstances change, you won't receive it again until you're eligible under the new rules.

Read more in the pension credit section of gov.uk


The benefit changes described here only affect people of working age (below Pension Credit age):

Under-Occupancy Charge ('Bedroom Tax')

If you have a spare bedroom, your housing benefit could be cut.  

If you have one ‘spare’ bedroom and you claim housing benefit, it will be reduced by 14% of the rent and any eligible service charges. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%. 

Read our factsheet for more information or work out if you might be affected by using the Citizens Advice Bedroom Tax Calculator.

Benefit Cap

If you’re out of work, the overall amount of benefit you can receive will be capped. 

The overall amount of benefit you can receive will be lowered from 7 November 2016. Find out more information on who's affected in our Benefit Cap factsheet.

You can work out if you might be affected by using the Gov.uk Benefits Cap Calculator. If you are affected, find out what you can do.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit replaces a number of benefits, including Housing Benefit, with one single monthly payment for your household. This means a big change in the way benefits are paid. It's being introduced in phases across the country so whether you'll be affected depends on your personal circumstances and where you live.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit will not include:

  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Contributory Benefits
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Passported Benefits (such as free School Meals and Free Prescriptions)


This short film by the independent Money Advice Service explains how you can get ready for Universal Credit.